Conveying Meaning Through Artistic Work

By Lori Kimbrough, Art Teacher and Studio Department Chair

As Studio Department Chair Lori Kimbrough prepares for Studio Day 2023, she reflects on the experience students have and the meaning they convey through visual and performing arts.

Studio Day is certainly one of those things woven into the culture of Field, and it is an important event for our visual and performing arts students. This year's event, on Saturday, May 20, will be Field’s 46th annual Studio Day. Each studio student from grades 6-12 participates in curating artwork exhibitions, producing music and theater performances, and organizing hands-on activities. Besides being a lively social gathering, it is also a chance for students to convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work to an audience. The experience of culminating the second semester with a day of exhibits, concerts, and shows allows students to reflect on their growth and adventures as artists this year. Recently, I've had a lot of fun seeing our students in their studio classes as they prepare to hang exhibitions, rehearse theatrical performances and music selections, and organize workshops for Studio Day. I have enjoyed talking with many of them about what their studio endeavors may have done for them this year. 

Studying the visual or performing arts in our fast-moving culture invites us to engage meaningfully, with a meditative focus and mindful repetition, to problem-solve and build skills. Some of the student artists I spoke with reflected that working in a studio environment gives them that time to engage deeply, to "think differently," and to practice independence and agency. Zach '29 observed that his studio time let him and his peers "figure things out and decide what you are going to make." Jirah '24 added that "having a space where you're in control and able to express yourself freely...the sense of independence that being in the darkroom gives me, is super important."

Some students mused that studying the arts made them more observant and encouraged them to view the world differently. Lila Felice, '23 related, “How has it not affected me? ... By learning about art, I’ve been able to look at the world in a more colorful way, rather than just from a mathematical perspective.” Cyril, '24, added, “Since studying photography specifically … I understand more … It’s helped me be more observant of things around me. I am more curious looking around … can kind of see photos in everyday life … It makes me more aware.” 

Engaging in the arts asks us to consider multiple perspectives. Zoe C. '25 observed, "I began the school year studying Shirin Neshat's work, developing a greater understanding of art as a means for social justice and how one can create a narrative and tell some aspect of an individual's story through a portrait." It also can illuminate the interconnectedness of the concepts we encounter. Mikey, '23, related, "That fascinates me, how it intersects with what else I am learning. I remember we were learning about motifs and themes in English, when they are meaningful, and how they can reoccur. I find that happens a lot in music … I'm looking into figuring out the connections between science and technology with music. I'm fascinated as AI is booming ...”

Studying the arts can afford students a powerful means of individual self-expression. Julie, ‘29, commented, “In studio, you learn more about yourself,” and her classmate Spencer, ‘29 added, “You can express yourself and learn who you are.” Creative endeavors also allow students to experience and build a strong sense of community. JD, ‘23, related, “I love music because it connects to so many can connect to anyone with music, it’s a powerful thing.” Tori, ‘28, observed that “Theater and performing helps build community and trust by making it so that other people can help you..If you miss a line, the other actors can help you…”
Students’ growth as visual and performing artists can encompass the skills of self-expression, confidence, resilience, curiosity, and collaboration. Our studio arts program is an essential component of our whole curriculum. Ultimately, we want our studio students to learn to be  thoughtful creators, confident and engaged members of a community, resilient spirits, and lifelong learners. Please join us on May 20th in supporting our student artists as they exhibit and perform some of their work from the second semester. We can’t wait to see you there! 

Studio Day 
Saturday, May 20

Enjoy perusing student artwork exhibits, music performances, live theater shows, and hands-on activities for the entire family. The event is informal, family-friendly, and festival-like throughout our campus (indoors and outdoors). Grab lunch or a tasty snack from our food truck partner or family potluck fare. We also have popcorn, popsicles, and beverages. Studio Day includes hands-on art workshops (improv, silkscreening, ceramics, and scanography) run by Field students and faculty, a 70’s themed (to celebrate Field at 50) photo booth, interactive STEM booths, and a pickup game on the athletic field (11:00am-1:00pm, weather permitting). 

*thank you to my faculty colleagues Chris and Jack ‘08, and faculty alum Natalia